Before his early passing, James Elroy Flecker,
scholar, poet, dramatist, linguist and diplomat, saw and wrote much of the world. A keen
traveler, this genuine polymath investigated three broadly differing cultures –
Edwardian England, the near East and classical antiquity – and his writings
present a rare synthesis of the view that each represents.
For this presentation I have selected the following seven poems, reflective of poet’s love of travel and new vistas, mundane and cosmic:
- The Golden Journey to Samarkand – Flecker’s most famous “journey” poem;
- A Western Voyage - in which the ailing poet describes a desperate race with death;
- The Ballad of Iskander - which may be considered as an obverse version of the Rime of Ancient Mariner, where Flecker tells the tale of the sailors who did not return;
- The Bridge of Fire – presented first in the original version, first published in 1907 and then in a later revised version. This dual presentation gives the listener a rare insight into the evolving refinement of the poet’s style
- The Town Without a Market – in which Flecker storms at death, and affirms a desperate desire to cling to life;
- Ideal – a penumbral, almost ghostly meditation, in which the poet speculates on what may lie beyond life, death and dream, and finally:
- The True Paradise – the poet’s epitaph.
Performed by Denis Daly
Rhapsodize Audio Catalog page for From Samarkand to the Cotswolds: The Life Journey of James Elroy Flecker
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